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How Black Boxes Can Prove Trucker Fatigue and Truck Accident Liability

Truck drivers are traversing the roads every day throughout Florida and across this nation. Simply put, if they don’t drive, they don’t get paid. Because of the way the trucking industry as a whole is set up, drivers are enticed to work as many hours as possible to make more money—encouraging them to drive longer hours and break the hours-of-service laws put in place to protect motorists. Unfortunately, many trucking accidents occur because drivers drive beyond the hours they are allowed under the law.

While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put tighter restrictions in place, some truckers know how to break the law and get around the system. They do this by keeping two logbooks. One of the logbooks shows that they are in compliance with the law, and the other logbook contains their actual logged time. In an effort to become compliant with the new laws, many trucking companies now use electronic logbooks, which are also known as an electronic control module (ECM) or a “black box”.

How Black Boxes Can Help Prove Liability in a Crash

By having a black box onboard a semi-truck, a truck driver’s activities and driving hours can be monitored at any given time. The electronic system is set up in a way in which it records data that shows the location of the truck through its GPS as well as the hours a truck driver has driven.

If a truck crash occurs, an accident attorney can use the information the black box stored to prove that a truck driver was driving too many hours before the crash—establishing liability. Because black boxes have changed the way personal injury cases can be proven, it is essential that trucking accident victims seek legal representation from a lawyer experienced in truck wrecks to prove fatigued driving and discredit the other side.

In order to establish that a truck driver was at fault for the accident, a lawyer must request the black box information as soon as possible by sending a preservation of evidence letter, because trucking companies have a way of losing or destroying the information. Also, this information is only available for a short time period before it gets overwritten. Because having this information is essential to a truck accident liability case, this information needs to be requested immediately.

Please share this information with those you know on Facebook so that more motorists are aware of black boxes and the role they play in truck accident liability.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney